“Established In Baltimore” is one of the more unique tracks on Filligar’s new album Keepsakes of the Interior. The mody, meditative track seemingly floats in from another world, spinning a simple story into something filled with wonder and surprise. As it turns out, that’s exactly how the song came about. In a new video, the band explain the origins behind the song and how an old, out-of-use upright piano led to its creation.
“We were pretty deep into the writing process for the album and had planned to meet up at the studio one night to workshop another unfinished track,” keyboardist Casey Gibson says of the song’s creation. “I think Pete (Mathias) and I were waiting for Johnny (Mathias) and Teddy (Mathias) to show up, or pick up food or whatever, and Pete started plunking around on this old upright piano that was essentially just being used as a table in the entryway. It doesn’t have piano keys so he was using drumsticks. And because we had pretty much everything mic’d up in there at all times I figured we should just hit record and see what happens.”
In the video, the band describe how they used the piano–which was missing several key parts, including its keys–to replicate the sounds of their traditional instruments. The piano also played a part in writing the lyrics to the song. “The lyrics to the song were motivated in part by the sight of the piano,” says guitarist Johnny Mathias “The instrument had obvious physical wear and tear to it, giving it a distinct and interesting character. This image sort of functioned as a wellspring for the line of thought that ended up on the page at the end of the day. For whatever reason, it populated a set of images and feelings that rushed over pretty quickly–including a memory of a drive through Oregon, Illinois when I was a teenager. It was fall and the leaves had changed to gold and red. We were driving alongside a river–a very obscure moment that I hadn’t thought about for years. And probably would have forgotten forever.”
You can check out the behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “Established In Baltimore” below. Filligar’s new album Keepsakes of the Interior comes out on May 19th.